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Spectrum of colorectal surgery operations performed in a single paediatric surgery unit in sub-Saharan Africa

TA Lawal
DI Olulana
OO Ogundoyin


Background: Colorectal surgery is a budding subspecialty of paediatric surgery and typifies the advances in the management of surgical conditions in children. The colorectal burden in resource poor settings, though reported to be challenging, remains undocumented. The aim of the present study was to review the typical operative paediatric colorectal caseload in a single centre in sub-Saharan Africa.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective review of the operative records of the division was conducted between 2009 and 2013. Data were obtained on the demography, diagnosis, procedure performed and type of anaesthesia used; entered into a computer using SPSS (IBM Corp; Armonk, NY) and analysed.

Results: A total of 120 colorectal operations were performed in 90 patients with age ranging from 1 to 13 years. The major diagnoses were anorectal
malformations (64.4%) and Hirschsprung disease (HD) (31.1%). The most often performed operations were colostomy (45.0%), posterior sagittal anorectoplasty (17.5%) and pull through (17.5%). The number of colorectal operations performed each year ranged from 12 in 2009 to 36 in 2012. A higher proportion of patients with anorectal malformations (46.6%)
presented within the neonatal period compared with those with HD (17.9%), P = 0.005. The age at definitive surgery was less in patients with anorectal
malformations compared to patients with HD (P = 0.003).

Conclusions: Congenital malformations represent the bulk of the caseload in paediatric colorectal surgery in sub-Saharan Africa and patients typically present late; although patients with anorectal malformations present and are operated upon significantly earlier than those with HD.

Key words: Anorectal malformation, Hirschsprung disease, paediatric colorectal, spectrum of cases, subspecialty

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eISSN: 0189-6725